An internationally-acclaimed phenomenon, Polish film posters are a movement that spanned from the early 1950’s to the late 1980’s. Its beginnings stemmed from the Communist period when Poland was cut off from the Western world, and thus left to develop and nurture its own cultural identity.

Two main institutions - the Polish Film Commission and the Movie Rentals Central - commissioned Polish artists to create movie posters promoting local and International films to Polish audiences. Without the fear of artistic scrutiny or compromise, the commissioned artists jumped at the opportunity to take a more individualized approach towards making each poster a personal statement. The results were, without a doubt, much more than just promotional tools.

As opposed to Western movie posters of the time that typically depicted stills from the film, the Polish film poster was a much more expressive and striking visual representation which, in most cases, focused on communicating the core essence of the film through the use of graphics. Each poster is a single piece of art, reflecting a combination of the artist’s personal style and symbolism drawn from mass culture and literature.

The Godfather

Tomasz Rumiński

Poster Date: 1973

The Godfather II

Andrzej Klimowski

Poster Date: 1976

Andrzej Klimowski, illustrator of the Godfather II poster, remembers being commissioned to produce posters for Polanski’s Chinatown and Altman’s Nashville, for which he received widespread Polish newspaper coverage, a prize from the Hollywood reporter and a bonus on his pay check:

‘Suddenly I got masses of posters and I was one of these big poster designers. It was a big thing for a graphic artist because everybody saw them.’

12 Angry Men

Bertold Kuszka

Poster Date: 1959

Star Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

Mirosław Łakomski

Poster Date: 1983

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Andrzej Pagowski

Poster Date: 1983

Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope

Jakub Erol

Poster Date: 1978

Seven Samurai

Marian Stachurski

Poster Date: 1960

Often all the artists had to go by was the title of the movie. Commissioned to create a poster but provided with no description or photographs and no chance of seeing the film, the artists had to work with what they had - a title and their imaginations. Jan Lenica, a renowned Polish designer, reminisces about this artistic period:

“The Polish poster, which because of its ‘oddity’ had achieved great international success so rapidly, was original, as we were isolated from the Western world and it did not resemble anything else, as we have seen very little and have been completely on our own.”


Eryk Lipiński

Poster Date: 1947

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Mirosław Łakomski

Poster Date: 1983

Rear Window

Marian Stachurski

Poster Date: 1958

Sunset Blvd.

Waldemar Świerzy

Poster Date: 1957

Apocalypse Now

Waldemar Świerzy

Poster Date: 1981

The first International Poster exhibition was held in Krakow in 1898, followed by the opening of the Polish Society of Art Commerce in 1901. During this time, while the rest of Eastern Europe’s poster art movement was dying down, Poland’s was experiencing a steady growth fueled by its unique relationship with the national aspirations of its people. 

Back to The Future

Mieczysław Wasilewski

Poster Date: 1986


Jakub Erol

Poster Date: 1980

Citizen Kane

Henryk Tomaszewski

Poster Date: 1948


Andrzej Pagowski

Poster Date: 1987


Roman Cieślewicz

Poster Date: 1963

In 1918, Poland regained its independence for which it had been fighting for nearly 150 years. During a short 20 year period of freedom, Polish poster artists created a class of their own. The Centre of Poster Art moved from Krakow to Warsaw, where students from the Warsaw Architecture University were gaining notoriety for combining illustration and architecture. It was one of these students that led the Polish poster on its way to its pre-war glory. Using his distinctive spray painting technique, Tadeusz Gronowski created wonderful Art Deco posters. His famous “Radion Sam Pierze” poster, which depicts a black cat jumping into a bucket of laundry soap and coming out all white, received an award in Paris in 1925, and was noted as one of the first outstanding posters of the first quarter century when it was reproduced by The Brockhaus Encyclopedia in 1933. 


Jerzy Treutler

Poster Date: 1964

Taxi Driver

Andrzej Klimowski

Poster Date: 1978

To Kill a Mockingbird

Bronisław Zelek

Poster Date: 1965

Once Upon a Time in America

Jan  Młodożeniec

Poster Date: 1986

Witness For The Prosecution

Julia Berli

Poster Date: 1960

In the mid 1960’s the “Polish Style” - a style recognizable for being independent, sharp, simplistic, and often quite sarcastic - was visible in the works of a large number of artists. In no other country had such a strong sense of connection been established between artist and audience. The Polish poster became the voice of the people: brash but serious, traditional yet unpredictable. Government authorities, in a bid to make the poster a medium of information and political incentives, sponsored this art movement which, ironically, would go on to become the vehicle of social and political criticism.

The Sting

Elżbieta Procka

Poster Date: 1975


Jakub Erol

Poster Date: 1986

All About Eve

Eryk Lipiński

Poster Date: 1960

The Polish poster artists accomplished something that no other generation of artists could - they eliminated the line, at least in their own country, between commercial and fine art. 

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